1 In Astronomy

It’s the Great American Eclipse, Charlie Brown

I don’t know if you have heard but there is a solar eclipse happening this Monday over the US. OH YOU DID??? hahaha well if you are outside the US or living under a rock, I have all the details on how to participate in the eclipse (glasses or not) so stick around. Unlike Linus’s Great Pumpkin, this eclipse will not disappoint!

When and Where:

The Sun’s shadow travels across the United States, starting at 10:20 PST (17:20 UTC) in Oregon to leaving the coast in South Carolina at 2:48 EST (18:48 UTC).

You can find the details of the path by state on NASA’s website if you are planning on traveling to the path of totality (that gray line covering the photo below). This is where the Moon completely blocks out the Sun. If you are curious how the solar eclipse (even partial) will look from your particular town, check out Time and Date’s Eclipse Calculator.

Path of Totality Map by NASA

How to watch:

If you are planning to watch the eclipse outside of that region or want to look at the sun before it is completely covered, you will need to protect your eyes. This is either done by purchasing the now very scarce solar eclipse glasses or doing a couple tricks to watch the eclipse without glasses. The planetary society has some good suggestions here but if you have binoculars, you might want to try a set up similar to this one (the tripod and cardboard are a little overkill but this gives you an idea of what to do).

One of NASA’s citizen projects, this camera will be used to image the Sun during totality ( about 68 throughout the path of totality)

Not everyone has an astronomer to talk you through each part of the eclipse, but if you download this app, it will help talk you through the eclipse. This is especially useful to those in the path of totality who will be taking off their glasses. If you don’t put your glasses back on before totality finishes you can risk damaging your eyes even worse than your friends might in partial eclipse areas since your pupils will be dilated from the darkness when that first piece of Sun peaks through.

How to participate:

NASA actually has a big civilian science project going on for the eclipse. Even if you are not in totality, everyone experiencing a partial eclipse is encouraged to participate. The app will give you instructions on what to do but all you need the day of is a thermometer.  Rain or shine, these temperature readings will be useful, so be sure to grab the app here.

Outside North America? No problem.

To my friends not in North America, you can join in on the fun too! NASA is broadcasting from Charleston, South Carolina. They will begin their pre show at 12 pm EST (16:00 UTC) and the main show will begin at 1 pm EST (17:00 UTC); totality in Charleston begins at 2:46 pm EST (18:46 UTC). NASA will actually begin airing footage 15 minutes earlier than the preshow on its Media channel (if you are interested in that just click the “Media” tab on the NASA TV site). You can access all the shows here.


Happy Observing! I will try to post a couple of pictures on my Instagram as I am traveling to the path of totality.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Yacon Root
    September 4, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Awesome Blog. Really enjoyed reading.

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